Building your own AR-15 can be a great experience and save you a little money in the process, but many shooters don’t realize what all goes into actually building one from scratch. To get proper results, you will need to invest a little bit of money in order to acquire the proper tools and equipment.
There is no easy way to go about it, quality tools can be expensive. All of the high quality materials, excellent fit and finish, and precision work they demand tend to come with a high price tag. But, after getting this gear, it will begin to pay for itself as you start to build your own firearms. This gear will easily last you a lifetime and save you the time and trouble of working with inferior gear and equipment.
So what do you need? Let’s take a look at some of the basic tools you will need in order to get started building an AR-15, and what will make your life a whole lot easier!
The first thing that you will need is a solid working area that will give you plenty of space for your build. A good workbench will be a place where you can keep all of your other tools organized and give you a clean area to start working. Your workbench should be big enough to give you plenty of space to comfortably work, and sturdy enough to hold all of your other equipment. It should be plenty strong enough to hold everything while you are putting pressure on it, especially when torquing down on something!
A bench vise is one of the most critical pieces of gear right behind a workbench. The vise will help you by holding parts while you work. It will allow you to mount your AR-15 in a vise block kit and hold it in place while you do things like install parts or torque down on a barrel nut. A quality vise cannot be understated, as it will be used quite often and has to be big enough to hold a vise block kit. In general, look for a vise that has a jaw size of at least 4 inches or more.
AR-15 Vise Block Kit
A vise block kit is used to help hold your AR-15 and makes assembling parts much easier. It is designed to prevent any kind of damage to your firearm or ar 15 parts, all while securing it. Vise blocks are specifically designed to hold upper and lower receivers in place. If you are going to have a vise, you better invest in a good vise block kit as well!
Roll Pin Punch Set
AR15’s have many tiny roll pins, and they are extremely hard to work with. Installing them without a good roll pin punch set can be next to impossible at times, and very stressful at the very least. Roll pin punches have a balled tip that helps to center the pin when you drive them in. They also help to prevent the pins from getting damaged or crushed.
Roll Pin Holder
While roll pin holders are absolutely necessary, they make your job a lot easier. This tool will hold your roll pin in place and correctly align while you are starting them. Once the pin has started, the roll pin punch should finish the job. These are very delicate tools and equipment, so try and get a quality one that will last and not break.
AR-15 Armorer’s Wrench
These wrenches make assembling an AR-15 much easier, and are very simple tools. They have many different features and functions that make them great for a variety of uses, such as installing barrel or castle nuts, flash hiders, or receiver extensions. They are not all the same, however, and a poor quality wrench can slip and damage your gun. Try to find one from a quality brand if possible.
There are certain parts of the gun, like barrel and castle nuts, that must be installed with very specific torque specifications. These need to be accurate, and only a torque wrench can get it done right. These can also be found at very affordable prices, so you don’t need to break the bank in order to get one.
Ball Pein Hammer
While building some things takes a lot of power, an AR-15 sometimes takes some finesse. In cases like these, a ball pein hammer is the perfect companion. This will help with roll pins or stuck pieces that otherwise might be hard to take care of. For size, a 4 or even an 8 ounce hammer should work just fine.
Brass hammers are a staple amongst gunsmiths because of how handy they are and how well they work. They also limit damage because brass is a very soft metal, yet hard enough to drive in roll pins or break stuck parts. Again, find a brass hammer from a good company that will not damage easily.
Needle Nose Pliers
Every good work bench should have some needle nose pliers somewhere. These will help with the small parts, and also help to push in things where you can’t reach. Get a pair that is made of quality steel.
Many of these tools and equipment you might already have, and a set of screwdrivers is one of them. You may not need them as much as the other tools, but they do come in handy for installing different grips and for using small pry bars in certain situations.
Allen Wrench Set
No AR-15 tool kit is complete without some Allen wrenches, and they are good for a number of different applications. Things like adjusting or installing sights, trigger groups, a gas block, or even different attachments.
Once you have assembled all the proper gear and equipment, you should have no problems getting started on building your own AR-15. Having the right tools and equipment is crucial to building a quality product, so make sure you have everything you need!